Rustic Barn Wedding Ideas for the Bride on a Budget

You're Invited...To A Barn Wedding!

OK, so you're in want to get married...and you're broke. You just don't have $25,000 to $30,000 to plunk down on a wedding which is what the average wedding is running these days. Heck, if you had that kind of money, you'd be paying off your student loans or buying a new car instead of riding around in that 1984 Ford Tempo. Yeah, yeah, it's a classic...whatever. Time to put on your thinking cap and get creative. Maybe you're a really casual kind of couple, your fiancé grew up in Iowa on a farm, just your average country boy not quite brought up in a barn, but kinda close...hey, wait a minute, BARN, that's it! Why not have your wedding in a barn?!

Now, before you start getting all high and mighty on me, just stop and think for a minute. Barn venues on the average are a lot cheaper to rent than fancy reception halls, the barn can serve as a wedding and reception site, eliminating the need for having to decorate two separate venues...already a cost savings there. Depending on your location, you may actually know someone who has a barn you could use for the wedding. Rustic barn weddings are very trendy right now so you'd appear very cutting edge to your friends and family, instead of what you are...BROKE! Are you catching on to what a very good thing a barn wedding could be? Good, then hold on to your cowboy hat, because here come the ideas to make yours the most memorable wedding ever!


The Three Crucial Elements For Barn Wedding Décor

There are three main décor elements for barn wedding décor that you're going to be able to use just about everywhere. The great thing about these three is they are cheap, cheap, cheap! The three giants of rustic decorating are burlap, Mason jars, and raffia. With these three things and a little DIY know-how you can pull off some amazing stuff.

Burlap can be bought by the bolt in wide widths that would make great table toppers or aisle runners or narrower widths (12-14 inch) that would be so easy to fashion into chair sashes or table runners. If you're a neat freak, (because burlap does ravel!) you can glue the cut edges under with craft glue, if you like the more rustic look, you can fray the edges a little, making a slight fringe.

You just can't say enough about the value and versatility of the lowly Mason jar for rustic wedding decorating. They can be used for everything from pew markers to flower vases, they can hold candles, wedding favors, or lemonade and at less than $1.00 apiece (vintage blue are usually more), you just can't beat them.

And finally, raffia. Yes, I know it's a little reminiscent of the dreaded blue and rose "country" period during the 80's, but paired with the right elements, it will give you the casual and rustic feel you want without spending a ton of money on expensive ribbon. Tie it around fence posts, shepherd's hooks, the handle of bridesmaid's bouquets, and the lip of mason jars. And a little goes a really LOOOONG way!

Casual Wedding Attire for The Barn Wedding

Since your atmosphere is going to be a bit more casual, (you are in a barn, after all!), you can get away with a little less formal attire for the whole wedding party. Note: A little less formal sometimes translates into less expensive! Cowboy boots for the whole wedding party wold be entirely appropriate, but beware, cowboy boots, although unassuming, could bust everyone's budget, so unless your attendants were already in the market for some or already own them or can borrow them, you might want to steer clear no matter how much they were part of your "vision." Short dresses in neutral tones would be great for your bridesmaids and khaki suits would be ideal for the groomsmen. You could even throw in a Western look with string or bolo ties for the guys .

Be careful with your gown as well. Remember, your dress, if long and loaded with a train, will be dragging dirty ground and wooden floors where it could easily snag a nail, so beware of lace or lots of ruffles and flounces. Unless, of course, you're going to have an armada of attendants carrying your train for you all day!


Barn Wedding Invitations

While we're on the subject of wedding attire, have you thought about how you're going to tip off unsuspecting guests who aren't very close friends and family the wedding will be in a barn? You don't want female guests showing up dressed to the nines and sinking down in red clay halfway down to their 5 inch Christian Louboutins! If your venue name doesn't say BARN in it somewhere very prominently, you might want to enclose a separate card letting guests know or design a cute invitation in the shape of a barn with doors that open up to reveal a wedding in progress inside. Also, and this is a worst case scenario and not out of the realm of possibility, some of your guests may have allergies to grass or hay, so they kind of need to know what they are going to be exposed to in advance.

Lighting Up The Barn

If you've ever been in a barn, you know they aren't the brightest things in the world. Considering you might actually want to see your wedding guests and your lucky groom, this could be an issue. Unless you're lucky enough to have the money to rent a real barn wedding venue which will probably have the lighting issue resolved, you're going to have to tackle this problem on your own. However, it doesn't mean your have to spend a fortune on lighting. Gather together as many Christmas lights as your friends and family will let you borrow, some tall ladders and a few brave friends and go to work. If there's is no electricity in the barn whatsoever, you may have to rent a generator for all of your lights to run off of, plus some extra long extension cords. Look in particular for rope lighting, 300 mini-light strands, and icicle lights. Paper lanterns look great in barns, but buying the LED lights to go in them can prove to be expensive, so use your Christmas lights to light them up instead. Follow the architectural features of the barn with your lights, doors, windows, and rafters, leading up to the roof if you can. Use extreme care with any candles around barns. Yes, candlelight is beautiful, but besides old weathered wood, you'll have hay and plenty of other flammable objects. LED candles may be the way to go, unless you want your wedding to end up with the same kind of reputation as Mrs. O'Leary's cow!


Barn Wedding Favors

Favors can sometimes be a budget buster, but there are clever ways to give favors without having to hock your engagement ring! Particularly with the casual wedding theme you've chosen, favors can be kept very simple. Is their a particular food item your area is famous for...peaches or peanuts in Georgia, apples in Washington, cheese in Wisconsin? Using small brown paper bags as your favor bags and a stencil, color your new initial with a sharpie on each bag. Scrapbooking scissors can be used to cut a decorative edge on each bag. Then just let guests fill their bag with some fresh produce! Supply old fashioned baker's twine to tie off the bags as a finishing touch. If you're a foodie, you could even make jelly or jam or even cookie or coca mixes in Mason jars as favors. Handmade bath salts are another easy project for quick and easy favors as well and if you've got a friend who works at a day care center, she can save the baby food jars for you which make perfect containers for just about anything.

Using Regional Favorites As Favors

Horseshoes As Favors And Place Cards


What Goes In Must Come Out!

If you're not using a venue specifically created for barn weddings and you're using a real live farm with a barn, you may encounter a, how shall we say it, sensitive problem. You have 200 people altogether, eating, drinking, and generally engaging in merrymaking and an unfortunate fact of life rears its' ugly head. Yes, dear bride and groom, I am talking about nature calling, some sort of restroom facility for your guests close by, so the nearby woods won't become an outdoor potty! Now certainly the thought of the porta-potties at outdoor concerts are not your most pleasant college memories, but there are ways to make these unsung heroes more appealing. Depending on your budget, there are actually flushable port-a-jons as well as bathroom trailers which are basically bathrooms on wheels. If your budget can't handle either one of these options, you still can make them a little more pleasant. Start by decorating around them, pots of flowers or a funny or cute sign on the door. Inside, pleasant smelling air fresheners and deodorizers and LED candles for light can help to make them downright homey. Be sure to include lots of good quality toilet paper to enhance the whole potty experience!

More Rustic Wedding Ideas

Rustic and vintage-themed weddings are still so popular and don't show any sign of fading away anytime soon. In this economy, couples are smart to figure out ways to have a beautiful wedding while cutting costs, whether in a barn, a park, or their own backyard.

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Comments 35 comments

Tess45 profile image

Tess45 4 years ago from South Carolina

As usual - great hub

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA Author

Thanks, Tess, very succinct!

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

Very creative! For those guys and gals who love the rustic, down-home feel, this is a great idea for an inexpensive, yet unique wedding!

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA Author

I hang out a lot on a wedding site and you wouldn't believe the number of brides who are having barn weddings now. Most of them are having the ceremony outdoors and doing the reception in the barn. I think vintage and rustic weddings are here to stay for awhile!

iguidenetwork profile image

iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

Fantastic wedding ideas...

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA Author

Thanks, IGN. spring is almost here, it would be a great time for a barn wedding! Thanks for reading.

BusinessTime profile image

BusinessTime 4 years ago from Twin Cities

Love this!! We're doing a lot of these ideas, but next to a pond in a wooded outdoor venue. Love the hay bale idea -- we'll have to see if we can borrow some from the neighboring farm!

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA Author

Business Time, it's a toss-up as to who is more excited about your wedding, you or me, can't wait to see the final outcome! Send pics!

Ruby H Rose profile image

Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

Great place for a wedding, thanks for all the details too. Beautiful pictures.

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA Author

Thanks, Ruby Rose. Barns really are great places for weddings. If you can find one to use for free , even better!

Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 4 years ago from Washington state

Beautiful idea. I have always wanted an outside wedding, but this idea is also quite attractive. Great Hub, lots of good ideas!

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA Author

Thanks, Shaddie. If I could have a do-over, I think I'd like to have this one, too. Something about a barn wedding and having a small group of close friends there just seems to make the wedding a lot more intimate.

Chantel 4 years ago

I want a barn wedding but live in Chicago.. do you know of any good barn venues here or near here?

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA Author

Chantel, try these:

Bryon Colby Barn in Grayslake:

Oak Hill in Galena:

Good luck!

Jamie Brock profile image

Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

This barn wedding is gorgeous!!!! I love the photo with the jar lanterns hanging in the tree and also with the lights draped across overhead in the barn.. really pretty. Thank you for sharing :)

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA Author

Thanks, Jamie. Seems as barn weddings have really become more popular, I am seeing more and more drop dead gorgeous and unique ways to decorate and light them. They're definitely not for everyone, but for a bride and groom with a down to earth outlook on life, I think they're perfect!

laweigle profile image

laweigle 4 years ago

this is such an awesome and beautiful idea!

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA Author

Thanks, Laweigle. I love barn weddings. I think they are very personal and meaningful and prove you don't have to have fancy surroundings to have a beautiful wedding.

Julieonline profile image

Julieonline 4 years ago

Gorgeous idea! Adding your hub to my wedding themes board on Pinterest.

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA Author

Thanks, Julie. I appreciate the plug! Pinterest is a great place to share ideas. I have to admit to a slight addiction! It's a really great place in particular for brides to share ideas. You can plan an entire virtual wedding there!

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA Author

I agree, MissingPiece! I think the relaxed feeling of the atmosphere really says a lot about the couple and although a decorating challenge, they can be made to look absolutely gorgeous!

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA Author

Thanks, DMV. It's getting to be the perfect season for a barn wedding, too with the weather cooling off. I think it would be a perfect fall wedding!

lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 4 years ago from Central Virginia

I'm long past bride stage but I absolutely love this hub and think it's the most awesome idea. I have had a love affair with old barns for as long as I can remember (have written two hubs about it) and so the idea of a barn wedding just warms my heart. Great job. Vote up and awesome.

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA Author

I love them, too, LRC. What I don't love is the ones Ive seen lately where the've brought the fancy chair covers and linens into the barn. It loses the whole feel of what you intended when you chose a barn wedding as your wedding venue. I say if you're getting married in a barn, bring on the burlap, mason jars and hay bales and keep to the theme!

Mitch Alan profile image

Mitch Alan 4 years ago from South Jersey

Useful - Funny - Interesting

Great Hub...I'm going to link to your HubPages homepage from one of my Hubs about cost effective but memorable ways to "pop the question"...Keep Hubbing.

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA Author

Thanks, Mitch, guess I need to go read that one now!

dharris77 profile image

dharris77 4 years ago from Springfield, OH

I really like this idea, its creative and fun.

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA Author

Thanks, dharris. My goal is to eventually own my own wedding venue with house, gardens, and a barn, of course!

SkeetyD profile image

SkeetyD 4 years ago from Barbados

This was so informative. Thank you for sharing. When I got married, we were working on a very small budget and we decided to have our ceremony outside in an esplanade. We wrote to the government to ask permission since it was a public area. Not only did we permission, but the government department sent workers to clean up the area and reserve the space. It came off beautifully. Just goes to show that money doesn't buy elegance. Christmas lights in the barn: beautiful

FullOfLoveSites profile image

FullOfLoveSites 3 years ago from United States

You can still have a casual but elegant wedding in a rustic barn. I love that idea. Plus you can be closer to Nature, making the event more meaningful.

Voted up, beautiful/awesome and shared

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 3 years ago from South Carolina, USA Author

Thanks, FullofLove. I agree, I've seen some amazing before and afters of barn weddings and it's incredible what can be done with lighting and drapes. Plus, I've seen some adorable use of coverings for hay bales as seating.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Hello, DIYweddingplanner,

This is an excellent piece of writing. Amazing, to be precise.

I loved every word of it. Voted up and all the choices because you deserve it. You have such

a gift for writing. Just use it without a selfish motive and no telling at how far you will go

and how many people you will touch.

I am going now to leave you some fan mail and become a follower.

I cordially invite you to read one or two of my hubs, and be one of my followers.

If you want to leave me any tips, suggestions on how to impove my hubs, just tell me. I need

all of the help I can get.


Kenneth/ from northwest Alabama

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 2 years ago from South Carolina, USA Author

Thanks, Kenneth! I appreciate your kind words. Now I guess I going to have to return the favor and check out some of your hubs! ;)

Kenneth Avery 2 years ago


You are so kind. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And I am totally-sincere.

I look forward to you being one of my cherished-followers.


I've heard 3 months ago

Which fabric is the best for some barn doors drapery? I have heard gossamer,muslim fabric,and even organza.

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